Food consumption and cancer of the colon and rectum in north-eastern Italy

Int J Cancer. 1992 Jan 21;50(2):223-9. doi: 10.1002/ijc.2910500211.


The relation between dietary factors and the risk of colorectal cancer was investigated in a case-control study conducted in Pordenone province, North-eastern Italy, on 123 cases of colon cancer, 125 of rectal cancer and 699 controls admitted to hospital for acute, non-neoplastic or digestive disorders. Consistent positive associations were observed with more frequent consumption of bread (odds ratio, OR = 2.1 for colon and 2.2 for rectum for highest vs. lowest tertile), polenta (OR = 2.1 for colon, 1.9 for rectum), cheese (OR = 1.7 for colon, 1.8 for rectum) and eggs (2.5 for colon, 1.9 for rectum), whereas reduced ORs were observed in subjects reporting more frequent consumption of tomatoes (OR = 0.5 for colon and 0.4 for rectum). High consumption of margarine exerted a significant protection against cancer of the colon whereas high consumption of carrot spinach, whole-grain bread and pasta (favorably) and red meat (unfavorably) affected rectal cancer risk in particular. Thus the present study gives support for a protective effect associated with a fiber-rich or vegetable-rich diet, while it indicates that frequent consumption of refined starchy foods, eggs and fat-rich foods such as cheese and red meat is a risk factor for colo-rectal cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Meat / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Rectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Rectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors